Women and men have different energy needs and use patterns, and gender inequalities can prevent women from accessing modern energy services, limiting their opportunities for economic and social empowerment. By mainstreaming gender issues in the energy sector, it is possible to ensure that energy policies and programmes are inclusive and meet the needs of all members of society, including women and girls.
One of the objectives set by the EU4Climate project in Azerbaijan is mainstreaming “Gender and Climate Change Integration into the Energy Policy” by offering a guide on how to develop and implement climate-friendly and gender-responsive energy policy to contribute to sustainable economic development and ensure that all human beings enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives.
Women can play a central role in the transition to clean energy as consumers, helping to shift energy consumption – and leading transformative change in the energy industry. Therefore, expanding energy access and ensuring affordability for the poor and low-income groups, including households headed by women is one of the recommendations pointed out in the study.
As women devote more time each day to care and housework than men, releasing women’s time is a key necessity for women’s ability to invest in education, their agency and life choices, and their ability to take up economic opportunities and to participate more broadly in economic, political, and social life. From this perspective, introducing clean energy sources and advanced technologies for cooking and heating that improve women’s health and reduce drudgery has to be prioritized.
To advance women’s careers, it is necessary to improve access to employment and financial resources and to invest in women’s human and social capital through education, skills development, and the creation of valuable professional networks. With this in mind, maximizing women’s employment opportunities in the energy sector has to be considered.
EU4Climate’s study will help to better integrate gender into the following aspects of policy development:
Poverty-related impacts: reduced energy expenditure by households,
Women’s empowerment: reduced time spent by women on household chores,
Health: decrease in the number of workdays lost by women and men due to bad health; improved quality of health services, especially maternal health and children’s health services, in dispensaries, clinics, and hospitals,
Environment: reduction in indoor air pollution levels; climate change reduction and mitigation measures to reduce women’s vulnerability and benefit both women and men.